The millennial generation has been tagged with the mantra of needing “instant gratification” and I partly agree. Millenials get obsessed with the goal, while forgetting about the journey. They want results in faster times with better processes. This idea got sparked from an interview I was watching with Simon Sinek in regards to this topic. Let’s talk.
In the interview Simon talks about some of the millennial generation and how they were quitting their jobs after only 6-8 months of working at the company. Their response as to why they quit? It was that they were not making an impact in what they were doing. He described it as if they were standing at the bottom of a mountain and they saw the peak, yet didn’t see the journey to that peak. Impactful and meaningful work is important to the younger generation and companies need to realize that change will need to take place to not only recruit talent, but retain it. Companies need to embrace change and find solutions to satisfy the new emerging workforce, or they will see good employees leaving to find it.
I think one of the solutions to this problem is the way we train our minds. We need to begin falling in love with the process of what we are trying to achieve rather than the achievement itself. A problem with focusing on the achievement starts with chemical called dopamine. Simon Sinek has a talk surrounding this chemical and states that it is very addictive and dangerous when not in balance with the other chemicals in our bodies. Dopamine comes from the achievement of our goals or completion of tasks. This is why we enjoy winning and why progress towards something feels so good, these actions cause a release of dopamine in your brain. There are other things that release dopamine though…gambling, sex, alcohol, technology are a few. While all these things are ok in moderation, it can create a very real addiction that can cause harm to not only us, but our relationships with other people.
Another problem with goal achievement is that goals approach a limit. We think that we can achieve a certain goal and we set our sights towards that boundary in hopes to push our limits, when we should be focusing on the process to get us there. When we focus on the process we can continue to see new goals and obstacles achieved that we may have never dreamed of.
If we begin to fall in love with the process instead of the goal we can see that our goals become more attainable and we feel more fulfilled and rewarded by putting in more time and effort to master that process. If your goal was to become an Olympic champion or even something small like losing some weight, we can see that the dopamine wears off shortly after our goal is achieved. The result is only satisfactory for a few weeks before we need to set out and accomplish another goal or achievement. Whereas the process is an everlasting cycle that we can continually feed on. Think instead of losing weight, having a healthy lifestyle. This way the goal is no longer to just lose weight it’s to continually try to lead a life towards being healthy. There is always room for improvements and then your goals will exceed the expectations you put on yourself.
If your goal were only to achieve the one mountain “peak” that you saw you’re not only stifling yourself and your abilities, but the capacity that your perspective teams and companies can accomplish. I challenge you to fall in love with “the climb” to that peak, so we can continually keep moving forward and accomplishing things we may never have even set out to accomplish